Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho

Song Cau District, Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam Book from Book from £339 per night

A stunning new beach resort on Vietnam's little-visited mid east coast, with luxe villas, watersports, spa and fine dining

Vietnam has over 2,000 miles of coastline, and huge swathes of it remain untouched by tourist development. Think white powder beaches, shimmering paddy fields, and seafront hamlets where coracle boats, fishing nets and reed baskets are still crafted by hand. This is one such spot - a half-mile beach at the tip of a spidery peninsula south of sub-radar Qui Nhon - and it's a jewel.

We first visited the bay in 2015, when there were only five villas. Hearing it was slated for expansion, we held our breaths - and then let out a big sigh of relief to hear it was our friends at Zannier, the pioneers behind Sonop, Omaanda and Phum Baitang. These guys have mastered the art of sustainable luxury in spectacular, remote settings.

Launched in late 2020, Bai San Ho remains a boutique resort: its 73 villas (from 1 to 4 bedrooms) are comfortably swallowed by a bay this size. While we haven't seen inside them yet, they're beautifully designed with reclaimed timbers, pared-back interiors and phenomenal attention to detail. And we have no doubt that the service - be it in the beach bar, the three restaurants, the kids club, or the watersports- and activity centre - will be every bit the equal of this magnificent setting.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

  • The fine-sand, half-mile beach is the star of the show: fringed by palms and pines, dotted with exquisite shells, you feel like Robinson Crusoe - but with fine cuisine and cocktails on tap
  • There's tons to do: tennis, yoga, spa, watersports (from sailing to efoils), fishing villages to visit, even a golf course nearby
  • And the snorkelling is superb - the resort's name means 'Bay of Corals' - with year-round warm waters
  • Their commitment to sustainability is admirable: recycled building materials, 600 re-planted trees, no single-use plastics, and rice from their own paddies (with excess harvest being donated locally)

Lows

  • Make no mistake, it's a long journey - an hour from Qui Nhon's domestic airport, 4 hours by road or rail from Nha Trang - but it's worth every minute
  • Occasional big waves can make sea swimming tricky - but there's a panoramic pool, plus private plunge pools in most villas
  • Hillside paths mean it's not suitable for the infirm or for pushchairs, but free bikes and buggies around the resort can help take the strain
  • Staying here is an expensive treat

Best time to go

This part of Vietnam has 9-10 months of sunshine per year (September to November being the exception), with temperatures around 30C for much of the time. January to April would be our pick; Christmas and New Year are fun too, though sometimes windy. In high summer (June to August), the heat can get uncomfortable - but the villas have air-con. The sea is swimmable for most of the year, though you may encounter big waves from September to December.

Our top tips

After the long journey, the perfect tonic is their signature two-hour Hoa Sen Ritual, which includes healthy teas, a herbal foot wash, a detox mud-based skincare, gentle foot and facial acupressure, and a full body treatment (courtesy of two therapists) using oils infused with ancient indigenous herbs.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Eco
  • Boutique Resort
  • 73 villas for 2-8
  • Restaurants & bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Hill Pool Villas

Rooms

Spread across the 240-acre bay and surrounding hillsides, Bai San Ho's 73 villas range from 1 to 4 bedrooms and 4 different categories, based on position and view.

Throughout, the style is muted eco-chic: reclaimed floor timbers, traditional reed ceilings and cob-plastered walls, pepped up with decorative calabash gourds, handwoven bamboo baskets and conical leaf hats. All come with air-con, WiFi, comfy kingsize beds, deep bathtubs or power showers, minibar and tea/coffee facilities (or full kitchen in the Grand Bay villas); and all but the Paddy Field villas have their own plunge pool.

Top of the pile are the Grand Bay Pool Villas, inspired by ancient Ede long houses. With 3 or 4 bedrooms and 300 sq.m of inside space, they're perfect for two families travelling together, or a family coming with grandparents and/or nanny. Best of all, perhaps, are the uninterrupted sea views from the pool and large outdoor sitting-dining terrace - even from the bathtub!

We really like the look of the Beach Pool Villas - mainly for their barefoot access straight onto the sands. With cooling wooden claustra screens, outdoor showers, plunge pool, private deck, two ensuite bathrooms and a kitchen corner, we think the two-bedroom versions in particular are perfect for a family.

A notch cheaper are the Hillside Pool Villas perched up amid lush greenery. The one-bedrooms would be great for a couple seeking a bit more seclusion; bask in wonderful views from pool, terrace and bedroom alike.

If your budget only stretches to the entry-level Paddy Field Villas, don't panic. They may lack plunge pools and long views, but you're ensconced in greenery around the rice paddies, the beds and bathtub are equally luxurious - and they are half the price of the Hillsides.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Kitchen in larger villas
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

With three on-site restaurants offering multiple different cuisines, you can comfortably rotate between them without getting bored. Chefs take pride in delighting all the senses: beautiful plate arrangements for the eye, fresh spices for the nose, crispy finger food for touch. And they talk passionately about balancing opposites - be it salty and sweet, fresh and fermented, warming and cooling.

On the hillside next to the big outdoor pool, Nhà O is the resort's main restaurant. Come here for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anything in between: there's a wide menu of southeast Asian and international fare, including kid-friendly dishes. Expect plentiful seafood (from clams to tuna), pork and chicken dishes, broths and dumplings, even pizzas and burgers; plus mouth-watering desserts from the exotic (raspberry and lemongrass soup with mangosteen) to the Gallic (chocolate mousse with coffee & Chantilly).

For something more adventurous, Bà Hai offers traditional Vietnamese cuisine in an equally traditional setting: a stilted barn (with 12m-high thatched roof!) overlooking the paddy fields. The set menu covers classics like Pho (beef broth) and spring rolls (with crab meat and dipping sauce), and a few outliers such as Hanoi-style seasoned pork with dried mushroom pastry and bean sprouts. They're paired with handpicked organic teas, and rounded off with a shot of local rice wine.

If you prefer a more laid-back beachfront vibe, book a thatched hut at Lang Chai for fresh-grilled seafood and meats, alongside a shortlist of Asian options, to the backdrop of rumbling waves. There are also plentiful wines, beers and cocktails to be had here (or in the main restaurant); plus fantastic fruit blends for the non-drinkers (dragonfruit and guava ginger beer, anyone?).

Guests in Grand Bay Villas also have a full kitchen at their disposal: either book a chef, or give a shopping list to a Guest Assistant who will return with the goods, and utensils to prepare it (both these options are at extra cost).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Kitchen in some villas
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • On your doorstep is a 1-km blond-sand beach, fringed by palms and pines, studded with pink rocks and exquisite shells, and washed by warm waves
  • The snorkelling is superb, with coral reefs and basalt rock columns just offshore, and equipment to borrow
  • Or sail across the bay on a windsurfer, catamaran, kayak or SUP: all are available free or for a small fee
  • Work up a sweat on the tennis or padel courts, in the gym, or with a game of beach volleyball
  • Follow a walking trail into the hills above the resort for views over the whole peninsula; picnics can be supplied
  • Learn traditional fishing techniques from the locals on a long boat excursion
  • Borrow bikes to explore the neighbouring villages, shrimp farms, salt fields and fresh food markets
  • Chill out in the yoga studio or spa - which offers massages, herbal therapies, acupressure, plant-based elixirs, meditations and marine skincare
  • Staff can arrange trips to the wooded Van Hoa Plateau or the bird-rich O Loan Lagoon, as well as cookery lessons, lobster farm visits, or a tour of local Cham temples. But in all honesty, there are probably better places in Vietnam to do these, so we'd advise just kicking back and enjoying the life of a 5-star castaway!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

This is a fantastic option with kids who love beaches, watersports and a bit of adventure, so long as their parents don't mind a long journey and some strong tropical sunshine.

The kids club (open daily from 8 am till 6 pm) welcomes kids aged 2-12 with indoor and outdoor play areas, and supervised activities such as ping-pong, badminton, board games, crafts, and story-reading in the library or outside on hammocks.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom villas are ideal for most families, with one kingsize double and one double/twin (both ensuite), plus space for a cot or two; and a private plunge pool. We think the Beachfront ones are worth the small extra cost compared to the Hillsides (which are also harder to negotiate with buggies). Larger families will have to upgrade to a Grand Bay villa with 3 or 4 bedrooms; this brings with it a full kitchen, large outdoor decks and a bigger pool with infinity edges.

Babysitting:

Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Car seats

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • Kids menus at Nha O restaurant

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Windsurfing
    • Sailing
    • SUP
    • Kayaking
    • Snorkelling
    • Tennis
    • Badminton
    • Beach volleyball
    • Cooking (pastry) class

  • Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Bai San Ho is on the east coast of Vietnam, about 35km south of Qui Nhon (or Quy Nhon) city. It's 200km north of Nha Trang and 340-350km south of Hoi An and Danang.

    By Air
    Both Qui Nhon (also called Phu Cat, 1 hour's drive) and Tuy Hoa (also called Dong Tac, 1.5 hours) have domestic flights from HCMC and Hanoi. The nearest international airport is Cam Ranh, outside Nha Trang, which is a good 4 hours' drive away.

    By Train
    The Reunification Express, which runs the length of Vietnam, stops at Dieu Tri just outside Qui Nhon, offering a fun alternative to flying if you're feeling adventurous. It takes 3.5-5 hours from Nha Trang, or 4-6 hours from Danang, so the 'Express' tag is a bit of a misnomer. See Seat 61 for more details.

    Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Phu Cat 65.0 km UIH
    • Cam Ranh (Nha Trang) 215.0 km CXR

    Other:

    • Beach 0.1 km
    • Shops 2.0 km
    • Restaurant 2.0 km

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